Last summer, Michigan resident Breanna Faith Gauthier was driving cross-country after a bad break-up with her boyfriend when her car tire blew and she found herself stranded on an Iowa highway at night, she recounted on Facebook Tuesday.
The late-night incident near Council Bluffs left her panicked as traffic whizzed by, she wrote.
Then, Iowa State Patrolman Todd Granner arrived.
He helped Gauthier maneuver the vehicle to a safe location, called for a tow and waited with her while the vehicle was fixed.
In Gauthier’s eyes, Granner went above and beyond the call of duty to make her feel safe.
“He asked what I was doing driving this late with a car full of stuff and listened to me talk about the…storm I was going through,” Gauthier wrote on Facebook. “He showed genuine concern for my situation and promised me things would get better….. I was a young girl states away from home, and he treated me like I was his family. He called in favors and stayed with me until he knew I was taken care of.”
“With all the bashing on cops lately, I needed to share this,” Gauthier wrote. “… He wasn’t just a (law enforcement officer) that night, he stood in for the family that was too far away to be there for me. I’m so beyond grateful for him, and his brothers and sisters who do this every day. Thank you, Trooper Granner. You’re a hero to me.”
Granner, who has been a trooper for 22 years, said Wednesday that he didn’t recall that specific incident.
“I was just doing my job that we all do out here,” Granner said. “If it was my family member, I would want them to hopefully get treated the same.”
But for a year, Gauthier has remembered this interaction fondly, she said during a phone interview Wednesday. She was spurred to action Tuesday when she found Granner’s business card in her purse, where it has been since that night.
“I have quite a few friends who are cops,” Gauthier said, “and, lately, there’s been a lot of negativity in the media regarding the police and what they do and I wanted to remind people that cops are mostly good people. When I saw the card, it reminded me that I hadn’t shared the story yet so I decided it was time. I was like why not share it now.”
Gauthier had no idea her Facebook thanks, which has been shared more than 24,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon, would reach so many people, including Gov. Terry Branstad, who posted the story on his Facebook.
Gauthier said she hasn’t spoken to Granner yet, but has heard from some of his family members who told her he read and appreciated her story.
“I am blown away by the response,” Gauthier said. “I’ve received 600 or 700 new friend requests and a few hundred messages from all over, Alaska, California, Florida.”
“If I would have known it was going to get a response like this,” she added, “I would have taken more time to write it.”